MHCC Sends 9 SEED Students to Clinton Global Initiative University

Posted: March 12, 2014

Second Round Bracket Results

Nine Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) students have been selected to attend Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) March 21 – 23 at Arizona State University.

Back row: Tatcher Jean-Pierre, Ariel Rodriguez, Daniel Chavarria, Jose Sanchez and Moises Maqueda.
Front row: Marlennis Diaz, Yessie Rodriguez, Citlali Reyes and Raquel Granados

The students, enrolled in MHCC’s Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program, will join about a thousand other participants from colleges and universities across the globe. They will come together to make a difference in CGIU’s five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.

Students will have the opportunity to attend plenary sessions, working sessions and other special events that will address topics across the five focus areas and allow students to network with their peers, build skills and identify potential partnerships.

Launched in 2007 by President Clinton, CGIU aims to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world by encouraging them to develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. All applicants for CGUI are required to develop their own Commitment to Action Plan (CAP) as a prerequisite of attending the March conference.

Students Will Implement Projects in Their Hometowns
SEED scholars come from rural areas of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean and have been studying Natural Resources Technology at MHCC since August 2012. With skills and knowledge gained through classroom lessons and community service opportunities, each SEED scholar has developed a commitment to action that will be implemented in his or her home country.

MHCC’s SEED students are working in a variety of areas:

  • Daniel Chavarria, El Salvador: Protecting 212 hectares of old growth forest
  • Marlennis Diaz, Dominican Republic: Community garden and enriching soil fertility through composting
  • Raquel Granados, Honduras: Composting toilet
  • Tatcher Jean-Pierre, Haiti: Replanting fruit trees
  • Moises Maqueda, Mexico: Compost solution for soil improvement
  • Citlali Reyes, Mexico: Rainwater for sustainable agriculture
  • Yessie Rodriguez, Dominican Republic: School recycling network
  • Ariel Rodriguez, Honduras: Reduce heat island effect by increasing the forest canopy by 80 percent
  • Jose Sanchez, El Salvador: Harvesting rainwater

Evaluators from CGIU placed Ariel Rodriguez’s project in the top 32. The Honduran will advance in the competition based on contributions that support his project. Rodriguez’s fundraising site is available online.

The 20-year-old described his project: “It will reduce the heat island effect in Agua Caliente, Honduras, by increasing the tree canopy, which will release water and keep the environment cool. Heat island occurs when the sun shines directly onto the ground where there is no vegetation to provide shade. The project consists of the reforestation of 200 acres of public and private land by planting 3,400 mango trees (Mangifera indica) by 2015.”

Rodriguez says there are numerous benefits to his project.

  • Increased vegetation will reduce, over time, the heat island effect and contribute in a local way to ameliorate global warming.
  • The community will be trained to reduce the heat island effect, and become aware of reforestation as the best solution.
  • Decreased temperatures may reduce health issues such as hypertension.
  • It will empower the community to adopt sustainable reforestation.

MHCC Student Took Second Place in 2013
MHCC has a history of history of SEED students qualifying for CGIU. In 2013, MHCC sent eight representatives to CGUI, including Glenda Maribel Alfaro, whose project placed in the top 32 in the competition. After the initial selection to the “Sweet 16,” contestants advanced through the brackets based on votes. MHCC students, employees and the community across the U.S. and abroad rallied to advance Alfaro’s project, “From Garbage to Garden” to the final round. Alfaro and MHCC (the only community college in the competition) went head-to-head in a Cinderella story against some of the most esteemed schools in America, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Duke and Columbia University. Alfaro placed second and joined the first place finisher from Arizona State University onstage with President Bill Clinton and Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert.

Now back in El Salvador, Alfaro’s project is replenishing nutrient-poor soil and stimulating agricultural production through composting in her hometown of Jardins de la Nueva.

For more information, media professionals may contact the Office of Community Engagement 503-491-7204 or

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 Last Modified: 3/14/2014 10:17:00 AM